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Dear Colleague,

Welcome to our February newsletter. This month’s new developments include:
  • We are delighted to welcome James Gustave Speth as a Senior Fellow with The Democracy Collaborative. Gus is a law professor at Vermont Law School, former Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University, former Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, and founder of the World Resources Institute. As one of our nation’s leading environmental advocates and thought leaders, Gus brings a wealth of knowledge about economic and environmental sustainability to our work. In his position as Senior Fellow, Gus co-chairs our Next System Project with Gar Alperovitz. His most recent book is America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy.
  • Last month, the Illinois Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise released its final report to the Governor and General Assembly, incorporating a number of The Democracy Collaborative’s recommendations for low-cost, high-return policies to build community wealth. Key strategies include the creation of a statewide Employee Ownership Center, establishment of hospital community benefit set asides for social enterprise procurement, and changes to Illinois’ Cooperative Act to be more hospitable to worker-owned co-ops.
  • In a recent Huffington Post article, Aaron Bartley, co-founder of People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH Buffalo), describes the growing use of anchor-based economic development strategies and recommends the Collaborative’s Anchor Dashboard as a tool for universities to measure their community impact. The current issue of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Forefront magazine also highlights the Dashboard as a way to improve conditions in rustbelt cities. At the same time, students with the Roosevelt Institute’s Campus Network have launched a yearlong project at universities such as Cornell, in which they use the Dashboard to evaluate Network institutions’ community impact.
  • Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz appeared on Reality Asserts Itself with Paul Jay of The Real News Network in a five-part series to discuss his decades-long work on political economy and the dropping of the atomic bomb. In the New York Times’ Room for Debate series, “Are Big Banks out of Control,” Gar argues that the continued threat of regulatory capture may require nationalizing the big banks. Gar also wrote a column for Al Jazeera in which he calls on Janet Yellen, the new Chair of the Federal Reserve Board, to redirect the Fed’s priorities to support democratization of the economy.
  • On a new webpage, we have made all of The Democracy Collaborative’s infographics on community wealth building and related topics available. If you find them valuable (or even provocative!), please pass along to others in the growing movement for an inclusive and equitable economy.
As always, we have added new links, articles, reports, and other materials to the site. Look for this symbol *NEW* to find the most recent additions.
Ted Howard
Executive Director, The Democracy Collaborative

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In this Newsletter:

Featured from the Democracy Collaborative

Recommended Reads

Featured Websites


On our Blog:

Worker-Owned Companies Class of 2013

Marjorie Kelly Joins the Democracy Collaborative 

Illinois Governor's Task Force Moves Forward with Community Wealth Building

Building a 40-Year Vision for Community Development


Featured from The Democracy Collaborative

C-W Interview: Rey España

This month we interview Rey España, Director of Community Development at the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), one of the largest and most successful urban Native American centers in the nation. In the past decade at NAYA, España has helped launch a number of projects, including an individual development account program, an affordable housing portfolio, a private high school serving Portland’s Native American community, and two social enterprises. NAYA is now looking to develop a Community Development Financial Institution to provide loan assistance for NAYA’s microenterprises. Read More»

Recommended Reads

Commission to Build a Healthier America Focuses on Improving Community Wellbeing

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America released a new report that emphasizes the impact that socioeconomic factors, such as poverty, unemployment, housing, and crime, have on overall health outcomes and life expectancy. To address these social determinants, the Commission provides three key recommendations: increase investment in early childhood development, more effectively integrate health into community development, and reorient health professionals and healthcare institutions to invest in community strategies that help people lead healthy lives.  Read More»

Cleveland’s Greater University Circle Initiative Leverages Anchor Institutions to Build Community Wealth

A new Cleveland Foundation report highlights the achievements and lessons learned from the Greater University Circle Initiative—a robust partnership among the city’s anchor institutions to foster economic and community revitalization. To date, the Initiative has created three employee-owned companies through the Evergreen Cooperatives Initiative, developed a workforce training center, launched an employer-assisted housing program, catalyzed changes to the city’s public transportation system, spurred over $140 million in new, public-private development, and helped direct an increasing percentage of the institutions’ more than $3 billion in purchasing toward local businesses.  Read More»


United States Department of Agriculture Highlights Cleveland's Evergreen Cooperatives

In the November/December edition of Rural Cooperatives magazine, the United States Department of Agriculture featured Green City Growers Cooperative, the third worker-owned enterprise established by the Evergreen Cooperatives. The article highlights how Green City Growers created twenty-five jobs while transforming eleven acres of abandoned lots into a productive urban greenhouse. The article also provides insight for how cooperatives can partner with city governments, anchor institutions, and foundations to stabilize local economies. Read More»

Philadelphia Promotes Local Business Procurement

City Controller Alan Butkotvitz recently commissioned a citywide survey, which found that Philadelphia’s “eds and meds” spend over $5 billion annually on good and services. This finding has prompted Butkotvitz to explore opportunities for how local anchor institutions can boost local employment by shifting 25 percent of their procurement to local vendors. The Democracy Collaborative was pleased to be asked to contribute to the report. Read More»

Featured Websites

The Chesapeake Sustainable Business Council

The newly formed, member-based Chesapeake Sustainable Business Council promotes policies that support local, green, and sustainable business throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. The Council aims to become a resource that can sponsor seminars, conferences, and workshops to facilitate networking opportunities. Find Out More»

The California Center for Employee Ownership


The California Center for Employee Ownership is a joint project of the National Center for Employee Ownership and the Beyster Institute at UC San Diego's Rady School of Management. Their website provides information and resources to promote a better understanding of employee ownership in California and across the country. Find Out More»

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